Scott Willis

Host, Reporter, Producer

I’ve always been enamored with the intimacy of radio.  It’s so personal.  It forces you to listen…and listen only.  No visual distractions.  I grew up listening to mostly top 40 radio in Detroit, with no shortage of entertaining DJ’s.  As a teenager, I discovered the area’s all news station.  I loved knowing what was going on, and the intensity with which they told stories.  I often wondered what it would be like to be the first to know what was happening, and then tell others.  Maybe that’s why I pursued a career in news. 

I would go on to serve as an intern at that all-news station, and it was amazing and maybe a little overwhelming to see what it took to put out a constant stream of news.  But something was missing.  It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I actually discovered Detroit’s public radio station at my alma mater.  What a difference!  You had time to write and tell engaging, meaningful stories, to be creative, all without the pressure to constantly crank out the news.  Quality over quantity.  That’s when I knew public radio was for me.  I was hooked.

I would hone my skills on and off for almost three years at WDET as an intern under the tutelage of a patient Assistant News Director. I produced daily stories for newscasts, but also was given the privilege of producing long-form features on topics that interested me, and that people knew very little about.  Now THAT was cool.  Right up my alley.  What budding reporter could ask for more?

I landed here in Syracuse in June 2001.  Today, I’ve come full circle, and now teach the craft to more than a dozen student reporters per week.  We work hard to choose informative stories, find the most engaging sound, and edit copy for clarity and accuracy. 

Outside of work, I spend time with my wife and little boy.  We like to take walks, travel, and read.  When I can, I’ll hop on my bike for a quick ride.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the honor and privilege of bringing WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners the news of the day during All Things Considered.  Thanks for listening.

Ways to Connect

  The announcement that the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant will continue to operate under new ownership was met with disappointment by critics who say the energy is increasingly unsafe and expensive.  Program director for the Alliance for a Green Economy Jessica Azulay says a $7.6 billion investment in nuclear power is a big mistake. 

 "I am floored that the state decided that a 12 year commitment to nuclear power was the way to go," Azulay said.

Governor Cuomo's Flickr Page

  Residents in Oswego County are breathing a sigh of relief following the news that Exelon will assume ownership and continue operation of the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant.  The Cuomo administration facilitated the transaction between Exelon and Entergy, the former owner of the power plant. Governor Cuomo calls it a victory for the region and the state. 

scott Willis / WAER News

  Syracuse-area peace activists and opponents of nuclear weapons held their annual silent procession through downtown Syracuse Tuesday to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

" I think that nuclear weapons could be the scourge of the earth. If there is a nuclear war we could actually destroy life on this planet."

Richard Weiskopf is a retired doctor and member of physicians for social responsibility. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

 Synthetic drugs continue to plague the Syracuse area, and Senator Chuck Schumer is taking another stab at trying to help federal drug agents stay ahead of the changing composition of the substances in Syracuse.   Senator Schumer says Syracuse is seen as  the upstate epicenter of the problem.  He says synthetic compounds continue to appear on store shelves as a result of the market's ability to find loopholes in the law.

Jason Chen/WAER News

  When you think of a hospital Emergency Room, the words fantasy and whimsy aren’t the first that come to mind. Today Upstate University Hospital opened its new Pediatric E.R. aimed at giving a more kid-friendly experience to younger patients. Chair of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Gary Johnson understands how difficult a hospital visit can be for families.

Gov. Cuomo's flickr page

A routine oversight hearing by the state Assembly turned testy when Governor Cuomo’s Economic Development Czar, Howard Zemsky, endured over two hours of questions about Governor Cuomo’s economic development programs, which are currently under federal investigation.

  Zemsky answered questions for over two hours from Democratic and Republican Assemblymembers, who wanted to know why the economic development program known as Start UP, which offers a ten year tax break for new high tech businesses who locate on college campuses , is seeming to take so long to begin.


Onondaga and Oswego counties are among 20 others to fall under a newly issued drought warning by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.   Governor Cuomo says in a release that recent rains helped to reduce the severity of drought conditions to the east.  But much of the state from Onondaga county westward didn’t receive enough rain.

The Syracuse Chiefs baseball team has a new lease at NBT Bank stadium that includes more support from Onondaga County.  It appears both sides want to keep the team in Syracuse despite some lingering struggles.  Chiefs General Manager Jason Smoral says the contract approved by county lawmakers  provides essential support for the next ten years…

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Dozens of protestors traveled to Albany Monday to protest the Public Service Commission’s decision to approve large subsidies for Upstate nuclear power plants. Nuclear Information and Resource Center Executive Director Tim Judson says nuclear power has gotten too expensive.

Scott Willis / WAER News

About two dozen up and coming leaders from countries across Africa are heading home after spending the past six weeks as part of a fellowship program at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School.  Political consultant and strategist Ciri Ba of Senegal says the Young African Leadership Initiative was a reality check in terms of understanding his fellow Africans.